World Cup

Less than a Month Away!


Niko Pavletic

The world cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet with around 3.5 billion viewers having watched it four years ago, and an expected rise in viewers for this year’s tournament in Qatar.  But no one here in Colorado really seems to seem that interested in it, despite it being such a large event.  Is it because people just don’t like soccer?  Or is it maybe because people generally don’t know that it’s happening this year?  Either way, I can explain the basics of the tournament if you didn’t already know.


Every world cup since 1998 has worked the same.  There are 32 teams with 8 groups.  There are 4 teams per group, and every team in said group will play each other once.  Here’s an example.

Group A:

Team 1

Team 2

Team 3

Team 4

Matchday 1:

Team 1 v Team 2

Team 3 v Team 4

Matchday 2:

Team 1 v Team 3

Team 4 v Team 2

Matchday 3:

Team 4 v Team 1

Team 2 v Team 3

That may be a bit of an over-explanation, but hopefully, I got the point across.  Now the way the groups work is that the top two teams in each group advance to the next round.  A win is 3 points, a draw is 1 point, and a loss is 0 points.  So the two teams with the most points by the time matchday three ends will end up advancing to the knockout round.  But what if two teams have the same amount of points?  Well, then we would go off of something called “goal difference” to determine who gets what place at the end of the group.  Goal difference is the difference between the number of goals scored and goals conceded, and whatever team has a higher positive goal difference would be placed higher than a team with a smaller goal difference, but only if they have an equal amount of points.


The way the knockout round works is you have two brackets, each with four games, and I’m sure everyone knows how a bracket works so this works the same.  The way teams are placed in brackets is decided by if you finished first or second in the group.  The winners of group A would play the runners-up of group B on bracket 1, and on bracket 2 it would be the opposite, the same thing goes for C and D, E and F, and G and H.  It goes from round of 16, to quarter-finals, to semi-finals, to the final itself.  But in the knockout stage there are no draws, so if two teams are stuck at even after the whistle is blown it goes to extra time, and if it’s still level after that it would go to a penalty shootout to determine who advances.


Now if any of you are going to watch the world cup it starts on November 21st, and I would assume you are all watching the USA games.  If you want to root for one of the other 31 teams the schedule is literally everywhere on the internet.  

USA schedule:

Matchday 1:USA v Wales November 21st 12:00 PM

Matchday 2:England v USA November 25th 12:00 PM

Matchday 3:Iran v USA November 29th 12:00 PM

And I know it can be hard to watch games, especially since school is thrown into the mix, but there are definitely ways around it.  The whole first week of the world cup is during thanksgiving break, so that opens a plethora of opportunities to watch a few games.  Hey, it could be worse as well.  I’m rooting for Croatia and their first game is at 3:00 AM.  


But I hope you got some value out of this.  I know it might not sound like the most interesting thing for everyone, but it’s really a great experience, even if you’re watching it from your living room sofa.  Just try to watch one game if you can, because it is very much worth the time.